Memorial Day weekend is usually a time of outdoor fun, as communities open their pools, residents fire up the grills and hundreds head outdoors for summer activities.
This year, two near-drowning accidents in Aspen Hill and White Oak have authorities reminding residents to take precautions while enjoying the sun.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue reminds residents to keep a close eye on children when they are near any water, offering the following safety tips:
Never swim alone: Even experienced swimmers can become tired or get muscle cramps, making it difficult to get out of the water safely.
Supervise children near pools and water at all times: Teaching your child how to swim does not mean that your child is safe in the water. Protect your children by supervising them at all times and being prepared in case of emergency. Do not rely only on lifeguards. They are not intended to replace supervision of parents and caregivers.
Seconds count: Every second counts when it comes to water emergencies. Keep a phone by the pool or near at hand so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
Learn life-saving skills: Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies. Your CPR skills could make a difference in saving someone’s life.
Do not rely on floaties and toy flotation devices to keep children safe: Floaties, noodles and other common poolside toys are not designed to keep children safe and are not substitutes for approved life vests.
Pay attention to water level warnings: Diving injuries can cause permanent spinal damage and can be fatal. Dive only in designated areas known to be safe, such as the deep end of a supervised pool.
Pay attention to weather conditions: Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
Know your limits: If you’re too tired, too cold, too far from safety, working too hard, etc., it’s time to take a break. Ask for help if you need it.
Water and alcohol don’t mix: MCFRS links up to half of all adult drownings each year to alcohol use.
Water safety doesn’t have to put a damper on your summer activities. MCFRS spokesman Assistant Chief Scott Graham urges supervision of friends and family.
“It’s a combination of everything,” Graham said. “People need to realize that lifeguards aren’t babysitters. If you have a child in the pool you need to make sure they’re safe. Hang up the cell phone and watch them.”